Vol 31, Issue 8 Print Issue

The Texas Weekly Hot List

In which we rank the races by risk to the incumbents and/or the level of drama for candidates and voters. This is our last list before the primary; we'll start over when it's clear who made the runoffs.

The Week in the Rearview Mirror

Texas became the latest state where a court has invalidated a ban on gay marriage. The ruling is on hold while the various legal challenges make their way through the court system. Attorney General Greg Abbott on Thursday filed his intent to appeal the ruling handed down by U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia, an appointee of President Bill Clinton, in San Antonio.

State Sen. Dan Patrick's oops moment on Twitter — a typo initially had him supporting marriage as between "ONE MAN & ONE MAN" — went viral in the aftermath of the ruling against Texas' gay marriage ban and became fodder for late night comedian Conan O'Brien later in the day.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis got a fundraising boost from Ted Nugent's appearance on the campaign trail with her GOP opponent Greg Abbott. In the latest round of campaign finance reports, Davis reported raising a combined $2.85 million among her campaign accounts and an allied effort with Battleground Texas. Abbott reported raising $2.45 million, but the Republican still maintains a nearly 3-to-1 advantage in cash on hand.

The latest edition of the University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll found Greg Abbott up 11 points on Wendy Davis in the general election contest for governor. In other key findings, Texans were more optimistic about the direction of the state than the nation at large, and a strong majority favored the legalization of marijuana for either medicinal use or more general use.

The capture of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán Loera, the leader of Mexico's ruthless Sinaloa drug cartel spurred U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Austin, to say the kingpin should be extradited to the U.S. McCaul, the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said the decision to extradite is ultimately up to Mexico, but he raised concerns based on the cartel leader's 2001 escape from prison.

Political People and their Moves

Chris Wallace has been hired as the new president and chief operating officer for the Texas Association of Business. Wallace is currently the president and CEO of the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber of Commerce. His first day at TAB is May 15. Bill Hammond will continue to serve as the CEO of TAB, where he will focus on its core mission of legislative advocacy.

HHSC deputy inspector general Jack Stick is on temporary assignment as HHSC interim chief counsel. He's taking over for Steve Aragon, whose last day as chief counsel was Thursday.

Kathleen Thea Jackson of Beaumont was named by Gov. Rick Perry to the Texas Water Development Board for a term effective March 18, 2014, and to expire Feb. 1, 2015.

Beth Madison of Houston was named by Perry to the University of Houston System Board of Regents for a term to expire Aug. 31, 2015.

Caven Crosnoe of Wichita Falls, Shawn Hessing of Fort Worth and Nancy Marks of Wichita Falls were named by Perry to the Midwestern State University Board of Regents for terms to expire Feb. 25, 2020.

William F. Scott II of Nederland was named by Perry to the Lower Neches Valley Authority Board of Directors for a term to expire July 28, 2015.

Debra Medina's campaign for comptroller picked up the endorsement of state Rep. David Simpson, R-Longview, a Tea Party favorite.

Disclosure: At the time of publication, the Texas Association of Business was a corporate sponsor of the Texas Tribune. (See the full list of Tribune donors below $1,000 here.)